A Pet Owner’s Guide to Preparing for a Natural Disaster

Hurricane season is upon us and it’s important to have an emergency preparedness plan for you and your family in case disaster strikes. When facing the possibility of a hurricane or any other natural disaster, don’t forget to include your furry family members in your evacuation plan. According to the American Red Cross, “if it’s not safe for you to stay behind, it’s not safe to leave pets behind either.”

Here are a few things for responsible pet owners to keep in mind when planning ahead:

Know where to go: If evacuation becomes necessary, remember that many evacuation shelters don’t allow pets. If you don’t have family or friends in the vicinity, it’s a good idea to make a list of pet-friendly hotels and motels in your area ahead of time and keep that list in an easily accessible place. Some veterinarians and boarding facilities also offer shelter to pets in the event of an emergency.

Make sure pets are wearing identification: Having your pet wear proper identification is a good idea at all times, but during emergency situations it’s even more crucial. In the event that you and your pet do become separated, ID with up-to-date contact info is the best way to become reacquainted.

Pack an emergency kit: Along with your family’s emergency kit, have supplies packed and ready to go for your pets. According to the American Red Cross, your pet’s emergency kit should include:

  • Medications
  • Sturdy leash and harness
  • Muzzle (if necessary)
  • Pet food
  • Drinkable water
  • Plastic bags or kitty litter/pan for waste
  • Pet carrier large enough for your pet to sit and lay down in
  • Current photos in the event that a pet does get lost

 If space allows, comfort items such as treats, blankets, beds, and toys are a good thing to have on hand as well.  These items might soothe a pet who’s experiencing fear or stress due to an unfamiliar situation.

For more information about preparing for a disaster, visit http://www.redcross.org/.

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